House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) pauses for reporters after meeting with the House Democratic Caucus and Biden administration officials to discuss progress on an infrastructure bill, at the Capitol, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Infrastructure Month in Congress, For Real, This Time, Maybe

by and
in Sludge
on July 8, 2021

The U.S. House and Senate are finishing district work periods this week, starting back in session next week for a jam-packed month before the August recess.

Congressional Democrats have given themselves just a few weeks to settle on the substance of major legislation addressing infrastructure spending, funding for childcare and paid family leave, and climate resilience. Over the past few years, “infrastructure week” has become a running punchline on Capitol Hill, as bipartisan compromise on investing in areas like transportation infrastructure and broadband access has proved elusive.

“This is going to be an incredibly intense period, because we’ve got to come to agreement on the big pieces quickly in order to meet the moment and accomplish our goals,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), a Senate Budget Committee member, told the Washington Post.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has pledged to advance preliminary legislation on a large infrastructure package by the end of July, to be moved in tandem with a smaller, bipartisan infrastructure bill that was negotiated with some key Republicans last month. Before the Senate possibly takes advantage of the budget reconciliation process to pass an infrastructure package with 51 votes, lawmakers must first pass a preliminary budget resolution that sets out the fiscal parameters of the final bill.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) circulated a draft budget proposal last month that seeks to slash prescription drug prices and to overhaul the immigration system, providing budget savings. The budget resolution is likely to be negotiated between Sen. Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with Sanders and House Budget Committee Chair Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), before heading to the Senate for amendments. 

As Congress readies its approach to infrastructure and social spending, here’s more money in politics news.

–While Bezos called for tax hikes, Amazon lobbied to keep its tax bill low. (Politico)

–Here’s who’s funding the 147 election objectors since January 6. (CREW)

–Corporate Dems and lobbyists for Big Oil, Big Pharma, Fox News and Wall Street are fundraising for Nina Turner’s primary opponent Shontel Brown in the Ohio congressional race. (The Daily Poster)

–California Gov. Gavin Newsom wildly overstated how much progress his administration has made on wildfire prevention through prescribed burns and fuel breaks. (CapRadio)

–Biden advisor Steve Ricchetti’s son landed a job at the Treasury Department a year out of college. (CNBC)

–Conservative nonprofits are writing a letter to Mitch McConnell and other congressional Republicans to communicate their opposition to increasing the IRS budget. (Washington Post

–In May, the top business PACs contributing to the 147 GOP election objectors were major defense contractors such as General Dynamics, as well as Duke Energy, American Crystal Sugar Co., and PACs connected to the real estate industry. (Roll Call)

–Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) husband Paul Pelosi gained up to $5.3 million on a trade of stocks in Google parent company Alphabet in the weeks leading up to a House committee’s vote on antitrust legislation. (Bloomberg)

–Tech giants’ foes open up their wallets to the House’s top antitrust Republican. (Politico)

–The Federal Trade Commission has pushed pause on public speaking events that aren’t focused on educating consumers to ensure staff time is being used to maximum benefit and productivity. (Politico)

–At least six state lawmakers affiliated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) were recently active members of a neo-Confederate network. (ExposedByCMD)

–The Pentagon has gifted $18.1 million in military gear to police over past three months. (Speaking Security Newsletter)

For more tracking of lobbying activity in Congress, get the free Sludge newsletter.

Read more Sludge at Brick House:

Big Tech-Funded Groups Lobby Against Antitrust Bills

Koch Industries Is the Top Corporate PAC Donor to the ‘Sedition Caucus’ Since Jan. 6

Publicly-Funded Weapons Companies Donate to Election Objectors